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Big data may change how orthopedists are paid

Orthopedics Today—September 10, 2017

In the print cover story by Orthopedics Today, Frank Schwab, MD, chief of HSS Spine Center, discussed how big data in orthopedics might help personalize patient treatment.

"[Big data has] become certainly popularized more recently due to an interest in making our health care system perform more predictably for an individual. We must find ways to reduce variability and cost drivers," Dr. Schwab said.

The article reported that big data does not always mean the quality of the result is better. Additionally, a big data approach to answering scientific questions is not appropriate for all investigations of orthopedic treatments.

Dr. Schwab said that some research questions need a lot of data elements collected over an extended period of time, while others are better answered using narrow data of high quality.

He added that the possibility of wider data collection allows physicians to personalize their understanding of certain diseases, which can lead to more effective treatments.

"It is taking huge amounts of data and hopefully getting to a point where we can, in a personalized way for one individual, anticipate the best clinical option moving forward on how to treat that patient, have predictability in what the outcome of the treatment will be and have the ability to select a treatment approach that is aligned with what the patient is looking for and is the most efficient and cost-effective way to reach that goal," Dr. Schwab said.

Read the full article at healio.com [registration required]. This article also appeared as the cover story in the September 2017 print edition.


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